“I made a promise to a man, once. That I would make sure you are kept alive. He was kind enough, so I’m keeping that promise for him.”
“Funny, I made a promise to a man as well, along the same lines.”
Death glances at him from across the small dorm room. A long time ago Dazai would have been torn to pieces by her gaze, feeling his entire soul being searched, picked over . However, now he is used to it.
He’s been here, many times.
“Stop coming here,” Death says. “You know I will only send you back.”
Dazai grins at her and twirls a brown lock of hair around his finger. “But then I’ll never see your ethereal beauty ever again! Ah, if only you were human, we could commit a double suicide toget-“
Dazai’s lips loosen into a small smile and he says, quieter this time, “Please, let me stay.”
Death mirrors his expression. “You know I can’t do that.”
Dazai wakes up on the floor, the noose tied to the ceiling having snapped somehow.
He sits up, throws the rope from around his neck, and sobs.
He remembers the first time he died. He was wide eyed, shaking and scared, but she was kind to him.
“You’ll be fine,” she said. “You won’t be staying here for a long time.”
Maybe it was her surprisingly warm touch, or her soft smile, but Dazai knew he would be okay, as long as she guided him back to life.
He stayed away for a long time after that. At least until Oda died.
Death didn’t seem too happy when he arrived. She wasted no time in sending him right back.
She sighs in exhaustion when he arrives again.
“What is wrong? Why do you so badly want to leave this world?”
Dazai is silent for a long moment. “I’m not meant for it. I bring death to whoever comes near.”
She snorts, then turns to the small drawer nestled in a corner between the futon and the wall. There’s a framed picture of the agency sitting on top. “You have friends, people who love and care for you. Don’t you want to stay with them? Spend the rest of your life… solving mysteries and protecting Yokohama?”
It sounded pretty boring to her but she knew Dazai loved his job, and the people he did it with. She can see him hesitating and she approaches. “Dazai, please. Stop doing this. Stop hurting yourself. You are wasting precious time.”
Dazai doesn’t answer, so she sends him back with a flick of her wrist.
“Atsushi-kun, I’ve met a very stubborn woman.”
Atsushi hums, barely paying attention over his many bowls of chazuke.
“I come to her house every once in a while to spend time with her but she always kicks me out!”
“Sounds a bit weird to me. Who’s this lady anyway? Have we ever met her?”
Dazai laughs. “A beautiful woman with the grace and elegance of an angel. She greets you when you are tired and leads you to a better life.”
The weretiger glances at him once before going back to his meal. “...Well, whoever this lady is I’m sure she’s creeped out by your advances. Really, Dazai-san, you should stop before you get beat up one day.”
The detective sighs. “I guess so.”
The full moon. Blazing so brightly against the inky black sky behind it. Death is beside him, watching. “The moon creates a path to the heavens,” she murmurs. “Without it, I cannot guide my souls into the afterlife.”
They are both silent, simply basking in the beauty that is the moon.
“Nakajima Atsushi,” she says suddenly, heavily like the name on her tongue carries so much weight. “He has met me before, only once.”
Dazai turns to her, eyes wide as she continues. “He was just like you, when you first visited. He was so traumatized about what had happened prior to his death that I almost took him with me, to guide him away from all his pain and suffering. But something held me back. Something told me that he had a part to play in this twisted game called life.”
She smiles up at the sky. “Look at him now. How many times has he saved this city? If not for you, what kind of person would he be?” Dazai knows where this is going. “You have a part to play, Dazai. Your death will only bring destruction to Yokohama.”
“...I don’t care.”
Death chuckles. “Yes you do.”
Dazai’s only dead for a little while longer before he wakes up in the bathroom, in a pool of his own blood. Someone’s knocking on his door but he doesn’t have the strength to answer. The only thing he can do is sit, and cry.
“Can you promise me something?”
“Making a deal with Death? Quite a bold act, I must say.”
“There’s nothing in it for you, I’m afraid, but…” Oda scratches his head, face scrunched up and body tense. “I have a friend, he’s going to want to come here. Please, don’t let him stay. He has to live.”
Death stares at him. “You’re telling me to keep a soul away from the afterlife? That’s a big promise you’re asking me to keep.”
“I know, it’s just- He doesn’t belong here.” The man is kind, she can tell. She briefly wonders why he chose to work in the place he did before taking his hand and smiling at him. “I’ll keep your promise. Now come, the children are waiting for you.”
Dazai’s standing by his grave. It’s nighttime and Dazai can barely see the engraving on the gravestone but he knows it’s the right one. He sets the bouquet he bought earlier down and stands back, looking down.
“Hey, Odasaku. It’s me.”